In a direct challenge to President Donald Trump's handling of the Coronavirus outbreak which has resulted in the deaths of over 165,000 Americans, former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday called for all Americans to wear masks when they are outside, in order to help slow the spread of the virus.
"Every Governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing," Biden said in a joint statement in Delaware with his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
"The estimates by the experts are it will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months," Biden added.
"Protect your fellow citizens," Biden implored Americans with his voice rising. "Step up. Do the right thing."
“When I get occasionally confronted by a person in public about wearing a mask, I say ‘Look, this is America. Be a patriot,’” Biden added.
The statements from Biden and Harris came after a meeting with health experts, as the Biden Campaign was launching a new campaign advertisement, tying together needed actions to stem the virus - and help fix the U.S. economy, battered by the virus outbreak.
"This is what real leadership looks like," Harris said after Biden spoke, again trying to draw a contrast with President Trump's actions, as well as various GOP officials who have resisted asked people to wear masks.
At the White House, there was a different view, as Biden's call for a mask mandate clearly got under the skin of President Trump, who used much of the start of a virus news conference on Thursday evening to attack Biden.
"Biden's approach is anti-scientific," said the President, who has notably clashed with medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.
“Partisan politics has no place here,” Mr. Trump added, accusing Biden at one point of copying Trump Administration ideas.
The U.S. recorded another day of over 1,000 reported deaths on Thursday, as the 7-day average of deaths has been over 1,000 for two weeks.